Doctors in Poland say they have successfully completed Europe’s first transplant of a sciatic nerve from a deceased donor. The recipient is officer from an anti-terrorism police unit.
Jacek Martynkiewicz of the University Hospital in Wroclaw, southwest Poland, said Wednesday the transplant was done February 8 and the 30-year-old patient’s condition had improved noticeably.
He said transplants from deceased donors were more difficult but more effective than other ways to reconstruct a severed sciatic nerve. The nerve is responsible for leg movement and feeling.
The first such transplant was done in 1988 in Canada and 18 more have been done since, though none in Europe.
The police officer’s hip was smashed and he lost seven centimeters of the sciatic nerve in a December shootout with thieves.